The 15 Best Everglades Airboat and Swamp Tours News2america

If you’re planning a trip to Miami, Orlando, or Fort Lauderdale, Florida, visiting Everglades National Park should be on your to-do list. The South Florida national park is known for its expansive beauty as well as its varied population of wildlife that includes everything from bobcats to alligators. To see all the Everglades has to offer, sign up for a guided tour. U.S. News consulted both traveler sentiment and expert opinion to identify the top Everglades tours. Before you go, make sure you read through the National Park Service’s Wildlife Viewing Ethics to keep both yourself and the animals safe during your time in the park. Additionally, you’ll need to pay a fee to enter the park, which may not be included in your tour ticket. You should also keep in mind that many of these tour operators are located at least 30 miles west of Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Several of these tours run on airboats, which are open-air vessels with huge fans at the back that propel the boat. As such, they can be very loud. Companies will generally offer ear protection, but if you or your companions are sensitive to loud noises, discuss options with your tour provider before you book.

Note: Some tour providers on this list may be running more limited operations due to COVID-19 or may impose testing or vaccine requirements. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.

The Best Everglades Airboat and Swamp Tours

(Courtesy of Sawgrass Recreation Park)

Sawgrass Recreation Park – Everglades Airboat Adventure & Animal Sanctuary Admission

Price: Adults from $27; kids from $17
Duration: 40 minutes

Located about 25 miles west of Fort Lauderdale, Sawgrass Recreation Park offers two experiences for the price of one. You’ll start your visit with a 30- to 40-minute airboat ride keeping your eyes peeled for alligators and other wildlife as you skim the glassy water at speeds of up to 40 mph. After your airboat ride, you’ll have the chance to peruse the park’s reptile exhibits, which features alligators, snakes, iguanas and turtles. Reviewers applaud the boat captions, who travelers say are well-versed in the plant and animal life of the Everglades and make every effort to find alligators for tourgoers to observe. However, a few warn that if you take this trip when temperatures are too hot (like during summer afternoons), you may not spot any alligators or other animals. Sawgrass Recreation Park welcomes visitors daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; boats depart every 20 to 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the animal exhibits stay open until 5 p.m.

Tickets start at approximately $27 for adults and $17 for kids ages 4 to 12. Children 3 and younger can participate for free. In addition to public tours, Sawgrass Recreation Park also operates private airboat tours.

Everglades Holiday Park

Price: Adults from $35; kids from $25
Duration: 1 hour

Everglades Holiday Park offers an hourlong narrated airboat tour that teaches participants about the various wildlife inhabiting Florida’s famous wetlands. In addition to the airboat ride, travelers can take in a gator show and enjoy up-close animal encounters with snakes, pigs, alligators and more. (Note that animal encounters cost extra.) In general, reviewers enjoy the tour and the show, and say it’s a great outing for families. Travelers report learning a lot about the Everglades from the informative and entertaining guides. Tours operate seven days a week with departures from the park every 20 minutes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When purchased online in advance, adult airboat rides cost approximately $35; tickets for children ages 3 to 11 cost around $25. Kids 2 and younger ride free. Everglades Holiday Park also runs a VIP Tour, which includes round-trip transportation from Fort Lauderdale hotels or Miami hotels.

Everglades Swamp Tours – One Hour Group Tour

Price: Adults from $60; kids from $30
Duration: 1 hour

This hourlong sightseeing trip takes you out on the Everglades’ main waterways in search of alligators, birds and interesting vegetation on an airboat. Throughout the ride, knowledgeable guides share facts about the area’s history and ecology. Many travelers recommend booking this tour, describing it as fun and informative, with plenty of wildlife sightings. Departures generally take daily at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m., but availability may vary by month.

Tickets cost approximately $60 per adult and $30 per child ages 6 to 12; reservations are required. Also check out Everglades Swamp Tours for private airboat tours that last up to two hours.

Airboat tour in Florida Everglades

(Courtesy of Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park)

Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park – 1 Hour Night Airboat Tour

Price: From $73
Duration: 1 hour

An ideal option if you’re looking for an adventurous escape from the Orlando theme parks, Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park sits about 40 miles south of Orlando in Kenansville, Florida, at the headwaters of the Everglades. Here, visitors have the chance to embark on an hourlong evening airboat tour to observe the nocturnal creatures that call this ecosystem home. In addition to the pleasant temperatures, this time of day is when many animals come out to feed. Tourgoers applaud the boat captains for their knowledge of Florida facts and history, and report seeing many different types of alligators and birds. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 6, 7 and 8 p.m., though exact availability may vary by month.

Tickets, which also include admission to Gator Park, start at $73 per person. A minimum of four participants is required for the tour to operate. Wild Florida Airboats also runs private tours, in addition to daytime airboat rides. The attraction is also home to a drive-thru safari park and several animal shows and encounters.

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures – 30 Minute Airboat Tour

Price: Adults from $35; kids from $30
Duration: 30 minutes

Located at the headwaters of the Everglades in Kissimmee, Florida (about 40 miles south of Orlando), Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures earns praise from reviewers for its personable, experienced staff and the family-friendly environment. On the 30-minute airboat ride, you and up to 16 other passengers will glide through the tall grass in search of eagles, alligators, raccoons and more. Reservations are not required; tours depart from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to airboat rides, the site houses a replica of a Jororo Tribe village, as well as a gem and fossil mining activity for kids.

Tickets cost approximately $35 for participants ages 11 and older and $30 for kids ages 3 to 10. For a longer adventure, consider the company’s hourlong airboat ride. There are also sunset and night tours, if you’re hoping to avoid the midday heat and crowds.

Marsh Landing Adventures – 90-min Everglades Airboat Tour

Price: Adults from $65; kids from $60
Duration: 1.5 hours

For wildlife lovers who want more than half an hour to experience the Everglades, there’s this 90-minute airboat ride from Marsh Landing Adventures. Located in Kissimmee on Lake Tohopekaliga, Marsh Landing Adventures promises travelers an in-depth look at the headwaters of the Everglades and the plants and animals that inhabit its waters. What’s more, because its boats are smaller (accommodating up to 10 people), the company says it can reach areas of the Everglades that are inaccessible to larger boats. Travelers give kudos to the boat captain for their educational and entertaining delivery. Many call the experience the highlight of their Florida vacation. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Tickets cost approximately $65 for participants ages 11 and older and $60 for kids ages 3 to 10, as well as seniors 62 and older. Marsh Landing Adventures also offers hourlong, two-hour and four-hour airboat rides.

Alligator swimming, Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.

(Getty Images)

Gator Park Airboat Tours

Price: Adults from $27.99; kids from $18.99
Duration: 1 hour

Sitting about 30 miles west of Miami, Gator Park operates airboat rides and offers travelers the opportunity to enter its on-site alligator park to see alligator wrestling at its wildlife show (both the ride and the show are included in your ticket price). You may even get the chance to hold a baby alligator. The park and the boat tours receive favorable reviews, with many visitors saying they had a fantastic experience and saw tons of alligators. The airboat tours last between 35 and 40 minutes, while the alligator show runs approximately 25 minutes.

Tickets start at $27.99 for adults if you buy online ($29.99 at the gate) and $18.99 for kids ages 6 to 11; children ages 5 and younger enter for free. Tickets do not include the entry fee to Everglades National Park. Gator Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with boat rides and wildlife shows taking place on the half-hour. The last wildlife show starts at 4:30 p.m. and the last boat ride leaves at 5 p.m. Gator Park also offers private tours.

Everglades City Airboat Tours

Price: Adults from $40; kids from $25
Duration: 1 hour

Everglades City Airboat Tours sets itself apart from other companies by offering participants two-way headsets, which allow passengers and guides to better engage with one another throughout the hourlong ride. As you navigate through narrow creeks and shallow bays, you may spot alligators, manatees and birds. Tourists enjoy the ride and appreciate the headsets. Reviewers are also complimentary of the boat captains, who they describe as entertaining and knowledgeable. Tours depart multiple times Monday through Saturday, although timing may be modified based on the season.

Tickets cost approximately $40 for adults and $25 for kids ages 4 to 10; tickets for children 3 and younger cost approximately $10. Everglades City Airboat Tours is located approximately 85 miles west of Miami and 35 miles southeast of Naples, Florida.

Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours – Standard Airboat Tour

Price: Adults from $45; kids from $27.50
Duration: 45 minutes

For an excursion that combines cultural immersion and wildlife viewing, consider this outing from Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours. The company’s standard tour focuses on introducing visitors to the homelands of the Miccosukee people: an American Indian tribe that migrated to Florida before it became a state. During the tour, you’ll not only see local wildlife, but also will get to see a Miccosukee Indian camp and take a nature walk. Visitors recommend the tour, describing it as an amazing experience thanks to the small, intimate group size.

Tickets for the 45-minute tours start at $45 for adults and $27.50 for children ages 5 to 12. Kids ages 4 and younger tag along for free. The company also offers private outings.

Best Everglades Tours

(Getty Images)

Coopertown Airboats – The Original Airboat Tour

Price: Adults from $25; kids from $15
Duration: 45 minutes

Explore 9 miles of the Everglades in search of alligators, turtles, raccoons and endangered birds on this approximately 45-minute airboat tour. The company earns high marks from reviewers for the engaging and experienced boat captains, as well as its proximity to Miami (less than 30 miles west). Reviewers also appreciate the reasonable ticket prices. Coopertown welcomes visitors daily from 9 a.m. to approximately 6 p.m.

Tickets cost approximately $25 for adults and $15 for kids ages 6 to 11; tickets do not include the mandatory national park entrance fee. Coopertown also operates private airboat tours.

The River of Grass Adventures – Semi-Private River of Grass Airboat Tours Everglades

Price: Adults from $85; kids from $42.50
Duration: 1.5 hours

One perk of this tour is that it is capped at eight travelers per boat. During the approximately 90-minute excursion, you’ll get the chance to see the famous flora and fauna of the Everglades, including herons and alligators. Visitors say this is a family-friendly tour and call the trip “memorable” and “amazing.”

This tour will set you back around $85 per person, although children ages 5 to 12 can come along for half the price. These tours run seven days a week, and since they’re semiprivate, you must call or email to find out the best times to depart. River of Grass Adventures also offers sunset tours of the Everglades.

Everglades Safari Park – General Airboat Tour

Price: Adults from $40; kids from $20
Duration: 40 minutes

Everglades Safari Park sits about 35 miles west of Miami, making this tour a great option for travelers interested in a quick daytrip. In addition to an up to 40-minute airboat ride, the tour includes access to a nature trail and observation tower, as well as a wildlife show. Reviewers praise the professional guides, who they say provide a wealth of information in a fun and engaging manner. Travelers report seeing a variety of birds, alligators and turtles during the airboat ride. Boat tours depart every 20 to 30 minutes; reservations are not required. Everglades Safari Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the last tour departs at 4:30 p.m.

Tickets for adults cost approximately $40; tickets for children ages 3 to 9 cost about $20. Private airboat tours are also an option.

Other Popular Everglades Tours

Person in kayak in mangrove tunnel within Everglades National Park in Florida.

(Getty Images)

Shurr Adventures Everglades – Three Hour Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Tour

Price: Adults from $109; kids from $99
Duration: 3 hours

Enjoy an up-close view of animals and nature, and get some exercise in too, on this three-hour kayak tour of the Everglades’ mangroves. As you paddle your way through the mangrove tunnels, you may spot orchids, birds and, of course, alligators. Kayakers say this tour is excellent and appreciate the patient, experienced guides who share a wealth of information about the plants and animals that reside in this unique ecosystem. What’s more, reviewers appreciate that the tours are limited to just eight participants. Tours are available daily from November to April. Exact times vary by month.

Tickets start at $109 per adult and $99 per child 11 and younger; kids must be at least 7 years old to participate. Shurr Adventures Everglades also offers a full-day tour of the mangrove tunnels, as well as a motorboat tour in the Ten Thousand Islands region of Everglades National Park, among other options.

Shark Valley Tram Tours

Price: Adults from $28; kids from $15
Duration: 2 hours

These naturalist-led excursions not only include a tour around Everglades National Park in an open-air tram, they also give tourgoers the chance to explore on foot. Halfway through the 15-mile tour, participants can climb a 45-foot-tall observation deck to see sweeping views of the surrounding vegetation. During the two-hour tour, travelers also have the opportunity to observe a variety of wildlife. Tourgoers enjoy learning about the Everglades from the expert guides and say riding the tram is part of the fun. Many also recommended taking a morning tour to avoid the midday heat.

Tickets start at $28 for adults, $22 for seniors ages 62 and older and $15 for children ages 3 to 12. Note that you’ll have to pay a separate fee to enter Everglades National Park. From late December through April, tours depart on the hour daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. From May through mid-December, tours depart only at 9:30 and 11 a.m. and 2 and 4 p.m. Shark Valley Tram Tours also offers self-guided bike tours.

Everglades Florida Adventures – Ten Thousand Islands Tour

Price: Adults from $40; kids from $20
Duration: 1.5 hours

If you’re hoping to see the Everglades by boat, but want something a little quieter than an airboat ride, consider this 90-minute cruise. Departing from the National Park Service’s Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades, Florida, this 45-passenger catamaran glides across Chokoloskee Bay, into Indian Key Pass and through the mangrove islands of Everglades National Park. Passengers may also see Picnic Key and Marco Island as the boat navigates to the Gulf of Mexico. Tourgoers report spotting lots of birds, turtles, dolphins and manatees. They also call out the insightful crew and clean, comfortable boat as highlights. Cruises are offered daily at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.; an additional 4 p.m. tour may be available depending on the month.

Ticket prices start at $40 for adults and $20 for kids ages 5 to 12; children 4 and younger can ride for free. Everglades Florida Adventures also offers kayak and canoe rentals.

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